The last few days have given me a new appreciation of the phrase “ignorance is bliss.” The phrase used to make my skin crawl. Anytime I heard it I couldn’t help but think “No. Ignorance means you don’t care enough about yourself or others to learn the truth.”
But Sunday, Monday and today have taught me that ignorance can protect you and help you push through. My husband has been out of town since before breakfast on Sunday. He’ll get home after dinner tomorrow. So for three days I’ve been a single mom. Just three days. And I know he’s coming home.
And I can’t help but wonder – is it as hard as it is because I know the difference? Is it because I’m used to my husband’s help that I feel so completely fried? And then I can’t help but jump to: Is that why I was able to push through in those early days of my son’s life? Is that why I woke up in the morning and tried my best not to cry from the pain of my separated pelvis? Because I didn’t know any other way? And is that why I’m deluged with emotion now? Because I’m finally understanding what it should have been like for us?
Here’s the kicker – my son is arguably one of the best babies ever born. Ask any one of our relatives and they will tell you I’m not exaggerating. He sleeps great, he plays in his crib in the morning when he wakes up rather than crying, he eats well, he naps without a fuss, he has a joyful temperament and he’s a lot of fun to be around. That makes him pretty easy to take care of.
But I’m still worn out. I had these big ideas of getting the house really clean, unpacking more boxes, lots of stuff. And I haven’t gotten to a single thing that doesn’t have to be done. (Arguably, except for my blogging.) The silver lining is, I don’t hurt. I’ve done a lot these last few days and I feel strong. I even jogged to get out of the way of a car in the parking lot as I went to check the mail. Yep. That really happened.
This revelation about my former ignorance even compelled me to write to a friend of mine who became a single mom when her youngest was around my son’s age. She knew what it was like to raise her kids with help every day and then it was gone. She pushed forward with grace. She fought to keep her kids’ lives as normal as she could. She made a lot of brave decisions. She stayed focused on making a life for them she wanted them to have. I knew at the time, logically, that it had to be hard. I did what any friend would do and offered support the best I knew how. But until this week I didn’t really have a clue what she was living everyday. And, really, I still don’t because my life will be “normal” again Thursday morning.
To all of you single mommy’s (or single daddy’s) who have babies too little to say so themselves: Thank you for everything you do everyday. Thank you for raising your sons to be good men, and your daughters to be good women. Thank you for making the best decisions you can and for accepting the responsibility for making them in the first place.